Domestic Partnership Benefits
Domestic Partnership BenefitsDomestic Partnership Benefits
Domestic partnership is often defined as a legal or personal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but are neither joined by marriage or a civil union. This includes opposite-sex couples as well as same-sex couples. The laws in some states now permit same-sex marriage, civil unions or registry for domestic partnerships for same-sex or opposite-sex couples. There are many couples out there that cohabitate together sharing expenses such as mortgages or rent and automobile payments however they are not offered the same benefits of those who are traditionally married. The question is, should employers offer domestic partner benefits?
There are many pros for an employer to provide benefits to domestic partners. An employer’s policy decisions regarding these relationships are shaped by state and federal laws, business needs and a desire for an inclusive corporate culture. Many employers now voluntarily offer benefit coverage to domestic partners even when it is not required by law. This trend is driven by several factors including changing demographics, the desire to be fair, workplace diversity and the need to improve employee morale. With the number of unmarried households increasing ten-fold from 1960 to 2007, employers find themselves trying to keep pace with the changing profile of the work force. Additionally with all of the recent gay rights controversy and same-sex marriage becoming legal in more states, the demand for domestic partner benefits in states where gay marriage is not legal is increasing. California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state offer rights of the same benefits to domestic partners offered to an opposite-sex married couple. On May 16, 2012 the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs approved the vote of the Domestic Partnership and Obligation Act or the DPBO. This Act allows LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender) federal...